Racer Info Package

The goods on Hook or Crook

Race Date: April 30, 2022

Welcome to Hook or Crook Ultra. We hope that this fun, early season race will become a part of your annual tradition.

This document is made up of information found throughout our website, but it is all on one convenient page so that you can print it easily.

We live and play in Crowsnest Pass so we are constantly reminded that the Hook or Crook Ultra course is truly magnificent. The race combines some of the best trails in the area with viewpoints and scenery that only a few people ever get to enjoy.

We hope this package will cover all of the information you need to know and more. It was written with the über-planner in mind, so we hope it covers all of the details. We want to provide an amazing experience from start to finish. We’re racers too and know it can be frustrating if something seems to be missing or vague. Contact us at any time and we will be happy to answer your questions or clarify race details for you.

Thank you again for signing up and we look forward to seeing you at the race.

Brian Gallant
Race Director

UP

ABOUT CROWSNEST PASS

Crowsnest Pass may be Alberta's best-kept secret. Located in the southwestern corner of the province, the Pass is nestled into the Rocky Mountains just outside of the Continental Divide. Home to stunning views, abundant wildlife, challenging terrain, and a supportive community, it was only natural to bring the Hook or Crook Ultra to the area.

In the early days, the Pass was a community focused on resources. The extraction of coal and timber drew many people to the area, who then settled into one of the many towns now making up the district. Although faced with many tragedies, such as the Frank Slide of 1903 and the Hillcrest Mining Disaster of 1914, Crowsnest Pass became a well-populated and thriving community. Today the community is made up of the neighbourhoods of Bellevue, Hillcrest, Frank, Blairmore, and Coleman. The ruins of former towns, like Lille, stand in testament to the legacy of the area.

Supported by a strong volunteer base, Crowsnest Pass offers many amenities to its visitors and residents. Attractions such as the Frank Slide Interpretive Center, the Crowsnest Museum, and the Bellevue Underground Mine welcome visitors for daily tours.

Crowsnest Pass offers boundless recreational opportunities.  Whether your interest is running, mountain biking, rock climbing, ice climbing, scrambling, road biking, white water paddling, cross country skiing, snowboarding, downhill skiing, or fly-fishing, there are endless opportunities to get out and play.

DIRECTIONS TO THE RACE

Air Travel

The closest airports to Crowsnest Pass are in Calgary and Lethbridge, Alberta or Cranbrook, British Columbia. A wide variety or domestic and international carriers service Calgary International Airport. Both Calgary and Cranbrook airports are approximately a two and a half hour drive from Crowsnest Pass and Lethbridge is one and a half hours, however fewer airlines fly there.

Getting Around

Please use this map for basic driving directions to Crowsnest Pass and the key locations on the course. We will also have driving directions available at Registration.




UP

HOST SITE INFORMATION

Friday Race Package Pick-up

Race package pick-up and sign in will be held at the Pass Powderkeg Ski Resort on Friday. Solos will also check in drop-bags, if necessary, at this time.

Start Line

The race start is located at Pass Powderkeg Ski Resort in Blairmore (Crowsnest Pass).

Camping

There are three campgrounds in the immediate area: Lost Lemon, Crowsnest Campground, and Allison/Chinook Provincial Park.

Dogs

We love dogs but they can cause a great deal of disruption for racers and create extra mess that is not appropriate around the areas that make up the host sites. If you do bring your dog, it must be on leash at all times around the host site and all transition areas throughout the race. Dogs are not allowed near the food areas at TAs, or on the race course.


UP

RACE WEEKEND AGENDA

  • Friday
    • 5:00pm-9:00pm – Racer Check-in
    • 7:30pm – Racer Meeting
    • 8:00pm – Volunteer Meeting
  • Saturday
    • 7:00am – Race Start
    • 5:00pm – Racer social begins
    • 6:00pm – Awards (if enough people are finished!)
    • 10:00pm – Race Ends

Pre-Race Meeting and Welcome Dinner

**Subject to Covid Gathering Restrictions**
All racers should plan to attend the pre-race meeting the day before the race. We will talk about the course, safety, and any last minute changes that may occur due to trail conditions, weather, or animal activity. Most importantly, this will give you a chance to check in without stress and allow us to welcome you with a dinner hosted by the race organizers and our sponsors. The meal is included as a part of your registration.

Post-Race Awards Ceremony

**Subject to Covid Gathering Restrictions**
Celebrate the Hook or Crook with your fellow racers. Everyone is welcome, whether or not you finish the race, so please do stay and share your experiences. We will also honor racers for achievements such as “first blood”, the Trevor Nickel Spirit Award, and more. Stick around – who knows what awards you may qualify for.


UP

RACE INFORMATION

During the race, you will be in some very isolated areas and may not have immediate access to facilities, or assistance of any sort. If you are running solo and cannot complete the 50km in the less than 15 hours, you will be running in the dark. The Hook or Crook is as mentally demanding as it is physically challenging. When you have been running for hours on end, your mind will give you a million reasons to quit - you have to decide that it is more important to finish.

Relay racers can expect to run from 5km to 25km on rugged trail, depending on the leg you chose. Runners on leg 3 may be running in the dark, depending on how fast you, or how fast your team runs. Legs 2 and 3 will take you far out in the wilderness. We cannot stress enough that you will need to be self sufficient when you are out there and the help you receive on course is very limited.

Please note that any course descriptions in this document are subject to change due to environmental factors, weather, and animal activity. We will do our best to update you if changes arise prior to the race but we will confirm all of the details at the pre-race meeting.

Safety

You will be running in remote wilderness, and the chance of injury is very real so prepare to be self-sufficient. We hire top-notch medical staff but they cannot be everywhere at once. If you are injured out on the course, be ready to hunker down for a few hours until a course sweeper or medic comes by. If you are injured but able to move, try and make it to the nearest Transition Area or Checkpoint. If not, try and send word with another racer. Race marshals on foot, bike, and ATV will sweep the course approximately one hour after all runners have started the leg. Please take the time to read the Emergency Protocol document on our website.

There are definitely bears and cougars in the area. If there is reported activity around the course prior to, or during the race, we may modify the course. We cannot predict random animal activity so please stay alert. Take note of the information below on what to do if you approach a bear or cougar on the trail.

If you drop out of the race, it is essential that you contact the race directors at either the nearest Transition Area or the race HQ (Pass Powderkeg). If you do not, we will assume you are lost or injured and we will be out looking for you. If we mobilize a search party, you will be charged for any search and rescue fees that are incurred as this takes up valuable resources. Please just take a few minutes to check in. Even if you do drop out, we want you to join us at the awards lunch so you can share your stories and let us wish you on your way.

Medical and Health Concerns

If you have a medical condition or take medications that may affect your race in any way, you should consult your doctor before competing. We will have medical staff on site to help with first aid, search and rescue, and emergency transport only.  They will not assess if you are capable to run. If you do have a condition that our medics need to know about, please fill out the Medical Form on our website. This is confidential and only used by our medics in case of emergency.

Wildlife Encounters

Every year we get a report of a racer seeing a bear or cougar on a racecourse. The reality is that most encounters with these animals rarely lead to aggressive behaviour and attacks are even rarer. Bears especially prefer to avoid contact with humans, and any animal you do see is probably just as frightened as you are.

The best way to prevent an unpleasant encounter is to avoid them all together. Bears and cougars usually avoid people, and most people don’t even know when they’ve come close to an animal. To ensure a surprise or unpleasant encounter doesn’t occur, try to remain with other runners as much as possible and make lots of noise by talking or singing. Put the iPod away and pay attention to your surroundings.

If you do encounter a bear or cougar, pepper spray and bear bangers can be useful IF you know how to use them. Remain calm. Stay together if you are in a group; you will appear larger and more intimidating if you stick together. Identify yourself by speaking in a calm, appeasing tone. Back away slowly, preferably in the direction you came. Walk, don’t run, and keep your eye on the bear so you can see how it will react. In most cases, the animal will flee.

To learn more about bear encounters, check out these BearSmart guidelines, or the Alberta Bear Smart brochure. For cougar information, read the Alberta Cougar safety brochure.

Cutoff and Start Times

Both solos and teams have 15 hours to complete the Hook or Crook. After that, you will not be able to continue the race. Each leg also has a cutoff time; you must keep up with these times or you will not be able to finish in 15 hours. In addition, you must also start each leg by a specified time or you will not be allowed to continue.

Race Start and Finish

The start and finish area is located in front of Pass Powderkeg ski lodge in Blairmore.

Transition Areas

Between each stage of the race is a Transition Area (TA) where you will be able to access supplies, meet your support crew or relay runner and take a break in relative comfort. TAs will also have some basic facilities such as portable washrooms, snacks, water, and shelter.

When you finish a leg, there will be a chute that you will follow in order to check in, get your time, and continue on the next leg. This is also where relay runners will tag off. These chutes are extremely visible and will have large signs stating the end of the leg and where to go for the start of the next leg. Staff and volunteers will be waiting at the chutes to assist you if required. We know you will be tired and probably delirious, but please be aware of the signs.

Drop Bags

All solos are allowed to have a drop bag at key locations. If you are running relay, please try and have any necessary gear with your teammates but you are still allowed drop bags. Drop bags are placed at the following locations:

  • End of leg 1 (5km in - also the Start/Finish area)
  • CP1 (before the climb on leg 2)
  • CP4 (end of leg 2)

Look at the course and plan your drop bags accordingly. We will provide tags for your bags at racer registration. Racers must submit their drop bags on Friday before the race. Bags will be placed in a line at the their location in whatever order they come off the truck so make your gear noticeable. Use a weatherproof bag, as we may not be able to shelter this gear. We also will not transfer drop bags, or any gear, from place to place so put what you need where you want it. If you feel you can get by without support or drop bags at every location, this is perfectly acceptable.

Drop bags are intended to act in lieu of a support crew.  If you have a support crew, please do not leave a drop bag with us unless absolutely necessary. Any gear left with us will be returned at the end of the race.

Transition Information for Relay Runners

You will need to meet the previous runner on your team at the end of their leg. For example, if you are running Leg 3, you need to meet the runner from Leg 2 at CP4. There is a designated chute for racers to enter and leave a transition. Please do not linger at the entrance or exits to the chutes – this holds up everyone else and creates a traffic jam.

Try to be at the TA, ready to meet your runner, 30 minutes before they are expected. We are not able to give ongoing updates as to where runners are on the course so it is up to you to be ready. If you are not at the TA when your runner comes in, you do not get any time credit. There are also several cutoff times, which are listed on on the course page. If a team cannot keep up with these times, they will be given a forced start or disqualified. In the event of a forced start, relay racers are more than welcome to run but without an official time. If this is the case you still must start by the specified time.

You can find driving directions to CP4 here. This is the only place support crews or relay runners need to go to.

Checkpoints

The course is divided by several Checkpoints (CPs) staffed by race volunteers. These locations are typically remote and act as safety points. All CPs are equipped with a radio and some have emergency supplies. You can expect at least one checkpoint per leg and the distances vary.

Course Markers

The Hook or Crook course will be well marked with flagging, paint, and coloured direction signs. There should be no guesswork when it comes to following the proper route. All trail and road junctions will have a number of markers to eliminate any doubt as to the right direction.

We will talk about course markings at the racer meeting. Remember: It is still up to you to stay alert and watch for these signs. We will do our best to make them frequent and visible, but the rest is up to you. We highly recommend reviewing the route on our website and making a visit to the area to run the course ahead of time. If you have a GPS, the routes are available for download on our website at on the Course page.

Food and Water on Course

We will have a variety of snacks available at most CPs. You can see the list here. We cannot accommodate every need so please plan to bring anything you really want via support crews, drop bags, or your next racer if you are on a relay team. Any CP that is accessible by road will have water and snack food.

We recommend that you be prepared to drink from streams or rivulets if you need water when higher up in the mountains. The water in the area is generally clean, and besides, illnesses like Beaver Fever take about two weeks to manifest symptoms so you should be fine for the duration of the race!

Also note that all food and supplies are for racers and volunteers only. Relay runners are welcome to eat at aid stations on their leg but bring your own if you are visiting other CPs as a spectator; we do not want to run short.

Race Rules

Updated February 12, 2021


Definitions

  • Competitor: Someone who is registered in the race, has checked in and signed a waiver, and is designated to run all of or a specific portion of the race
  • CP: Checkpoint, also "Water Station" or "Aid Station".
  • Disqualified: A competitor or team that has not completed a mandatory section of the race, or has been removed from the event by Race Administration.
  • DNF: Did Not Finish, also "Disqualified".
  • DNS: Did Not Start, also "Disqualified".
  • Leg: Also "Stage"; any one of the seven sections of the race.
  • Pacer: A runner who is enlisted specifically to assist a Competitor finish a stage of the race.
  • Relay: Also "Team" is a group of people running specific portions of the race.
  • Solo: An individual running all seven stages of the race on their own.

Race Rules

  1. Competitors are required to check in at registration by 9:00pm on the day prior to the race, and sign a waiver provided by the Sinister Sports Inc. A competitor is considered DNS without a signed waiver.
  2. Competitors are responsible for their own medical coverage and all costs incurred by any form of rescue services, treatment, or hospitalization if they are injured during the race. If emergency evacuation is required, the cost will be the responsibility of the individual in need of assistance. This includes the cost of airlifting and helicopter or ground search if required.
  3. Start Times:
    1. The race begins at 7:00am on the Saturday of the race.
    2. Competitors must start within 10 minutes of their assigned start time. Late starters may be removed from the course or shuttled ahead and marked as Unranked at the discretion of the Race Director.
  4. Finish Times:
    1. The race ends at 10:00pm for an elapsed time of 15 hours.
    2. Racers not finished by this time will be considered Over Time Limit (OTL) and do not receive a regulation time.
  5. Start and finish times may be adjusted at the discretion of the Race Director due to environmental, traffic, or safety factors.
  6. Each leg of the race has a cutoff, and competitors must start the next leg by the time listed. If a competitor cannot finish their leg by this time, they may be instructed to pull out of the race. Cutoff times are available on the course page of the website.
  7. The only means of travel on the course is self-powered, non-mechanical, and not skiing or snowboarding. Accepted means of travel include running, walking, crawling, snowshoeing, and use of seated (non-mechanical) sliding device such as a tobaggan. Using any other means of travel will result in disqualification.
  8. The timing chip is property of Sinister Sports, or it's suppliers, and must be returned at the end of the race.
  9. A timing chip and bib number must be worn while on the course or the competitor is not considered a participant in the race. The bib must be worn on the front of your body so that it is visible to race marshals.
  10. Competitors must check in at all CPs. Your number and time will be recorded before you continue on the course.
  11. Relay runners may only transition to their next runner at the end of Leg 1, and at the end of Leg 2 (CP4). If a relay competitor is not ready at a transition point when their previous runner finishes a leg, the team’s race time continues to elapse. No time credits will be given if your runners are late showing up at their TA.
  12. The course is marked and runners must adhere to the designated route; any deviance or short cuts will result in disqualification.
  13. If any act of nature or uncontrollable act takes place that inhibits your progress on the course (eg: snow, rockslide) no time credit will be given; these factors are a part of the race.
  14. Competitors are allowed assistance (eg: support crew, volunteer, race marshal, or bystander) only at designated CPs. Accepting assistance outside a CP from anyone besides a registered competitor (see 17), or race medic, will result in disqualification. You can receive assistance from appointed race medics anywhere on the course, even outside of designated TAs, providing that the assistance is not in the form of transportation.
  15. Relay teams must designate which leg(s) of the race each of their teammates will run by no later than 9:00pm at registration on the day prior to the race start. Relay competitors may be substituted during the race, at the discretion of Race Administration, by contacting race officials at race Headquarters. (Note that this may be also be updated online in advance by editing the team's profile)
  16. Relay competitors must finish the entirety of their designated leg(s) of the race. If the relay competitor must withdraw part way through their designated leg, the leg must be started over with a new runner and completed within the cutoff times in order to receive an official time.
  17. Competitors are not allowed to use pacers. Competitors may run with others under the following circumstances, and any other instances will result in disqualification*:
    1. Competitors may run with a solo competitor who is competing on the same leg of the race, and has not been marked as disqualified.
    2. Competitors may run with a relay competitor who is designated to run that specific leg of the race, and has not been marked as disqualified.
    3. Relay competitors may run with one (1) member of their relay team if declared at registration (see 15 & 16). The relay competitor who is designated to run a specific leg must carry the timing chip and will receive the official time for their team on that leg; no transfer of timing chip may occur at any time.**
    4. any individual may join the competitor within 300m of end of a leg in order to show support to the competitor as they finish.
  18. Competitors are not allowed to cache food or gear along the course except at the Start/Finish Area, CP1, and CP4.
  19. Littering on the course is unacceptable and will result in immediate disqualification.
  20. Any competitor found using, or supplying performance-enhancing drugs to other competitors, will be disqualified and permanently barred from all Sinister Sports events. See http://list.wada-ama.org/ for banned substances. Sinister Sports Inc. respects any existing bans and will comply with any investigation undertaken by anti-doping agencies.
  21. Headphones must be removed in a Checkpoint or Transition Area. Not doing so may result in penalties or disqualification at the discretion of the Race Director. If used on course, consider wearing only one earbud and keeping the volume at an acceptable level so that you can hear your surroundings without disturbing other competitors.
  22. Any competitor that drops out of the race must notify the nearest race marshal or director at the earliest opportunity. Do not drop out of the race without telling race officials as this will result in a costly search and you may be billed.
  23. Medical staff and/or Race Directors may remove any competitor from the racecourse if they feel it is unsafe for the competitor to proceed (eg: natural hazards, hypothermia, dehydration, frostbite, debilitating injury, unprepared for weather events).
  24. Unsportsmanlike conduct will not be tolerated and may result in disqualification at the discretion of the race director.
  25. Any disputes with the racecourse, race results, course management or the actions of other competitors must be submitted to the Race Director, in writing, within 30 minutes of the end of the race. If not received within this time, complaints will not be considered.
  26. The Race Director will determine if there has been a violation of these rules and will be the final authority in assigning penalties.

*Examples:

  • A competitor encounters a solo competitor who is on course (not disqualified) and running that leg. Acceptable
  • A competitor encounters a relay runner who is specifically assigned to run that leg of the race and is carrying the team’s timing chip. Acceptable
  • A competitor enlists a runner who competed earlier in the race, and the runner is not designated to run that specific leg of the race. NOT acceptable - will result in disqualification
  • A competitor enlists a runner who is not registered in the race. NOT acceptable - will result in disqualification

**We do not encourage teammates to run together as it is meant to be one person per leg, however, we recognize that teammates often run together in order to show support to young or new runners. The runner designated for that leg is the one who must run the entirety of that leg. For safety reasons, Race Administration must be aware that additional runners are on that stage of the race.

Recommended Gear

The weather conditions in the Rockies can change dramatically in a short period of time. A light drizzle combined with 80km winds will cause hypothermia in short order, unless you are properly equipped. Some of the higher areas of the course will still have snow in July. You may be on your own for several hours if something goes wrong.

We suggest you carry the following gear. You will be in remote wilderness, and you are responsible for your safety. If you are injured it may be several hours before we can reach you, so you need to be prepared. Do not think it will not happen to you! Weather changes quickly in the mountains so prepare accordingly. You may elect to carry additional gear, like bear spray, at your discretion.

  1. Headlamp (after 5:00pm)
  2. Full water bottles or hydration pack to carry 2L of fluid
  3. Wind/water resistant jacket
  4. Toque or warm hat
  5. Sun hat
  6. Extra shoes and socks
  7. Full-finger gloves
  8. Running/trekking poles
  9. Snowshoes (just in case)
  10. Whistle (for alerting others)
  11. Space blanket (shelter)
  12. Bear spray or bear banger (IF you know how to use it)
  13. Race Bib (mandatory)
  14. Timing Chip (mandatory)
No cups at aid stations

If you do not wear your timing chip or bib number, as per the race rules, you are not considered a competitor in the event.

Note: We do not supply disposable cups at our aid stations, so you must have a vessel if you want water or electrolyte. You are welcome to refill bottles and bags.

Restricted / Prohibited Items

  • Performance-Enhancing Drugs: See Rule #20.
  • Headphones: See Rule #21

UP

ROUTE MAPS + DESCRIPTIONS

Here is a preview of the course. The route may be tweaked to achieve the optimal experience that we want, but expect 50k, snow, and some good elevation.

Not one bit of pavement on this course!

Download the course files in GPX format: 3 Stages Separate Lines | Full Route - One Line. This can be used with most navigation products and Google Earth.

CAUTION: If you choose to explore using this information, you do so at your own risk. These files are for reference only. Do not enter land that is marked as private.

Overview

Distance: 50km
Gain: 1,870m
Loss: 1,870m
Duration: 15 hours to complete the course

Leg 1 - Powderkeg

Distance: 5km
Gain: 184m
Loss: 184m
Max: 1,454m
Trail Type: Singletrack, doubletrack
Must Start: 07:00hrs
Cutoff: 08:00hrs

A quick jaunt around Pass Powderkeg to spread everyone out and get your blood flowing. There are some narrow sections of amazing singletrack on this section, so jockey for position early.

Leg 2 - Ironstone

Distance: 25km
Gain: 1,068m
Loss: 1,058m
Max: 1,996m
Trail Type: Singletrack, doubletrack, dirt road
Must Start: 08:00hrs
Cutoff: 15:00hrs

Heading up and over the ski hill, you are rewarded with 360 degree views of the area. From there you head west and make your way up to Ironstone Lookout, with even more high alpine views. Expect snow on this approach and think about what snivel gear you want to pack at CP1; it's a long way up.

Leg 3 - Saddle

Distance: 20km
Gain: 618m
Loss: 628m
Max: 1,611m
Trail Type: Singletrack, doubletrack, dirt road
Must Start: 15:00hrs
Cutoff: 22:00hrs

After you catch your breath from the climb up Willoughby Ridge, you enter some of the sweetest single track in the area. You loop around Saddle Mountain and begin to make your way back to PPK, the last big climb, and the last big descent.

 


UP

SUPPORT CREW INFORMATION

Support Crew’s Role

Support people (aka Support Crews) are typically only required for solo runners as most relay runners do one leg and hand off to a teammate at a Transition Area. Support people help keep their racer moving. If you intend to support a racer, do not be afraid to ask questions – we want your experience to be as rewarding for you as it is for the competitors.

At Hook or Crook, support crews should only go to the Start/Finish area, and CP4.

There is minimal cell coverage outside of the town proper. Any emergency communications should be done through Race Staff, who are all equipped with a radio. We do not have the ability to track all racers on the course at all times so please refrain from asking for competitor updates.

Support Vehicles + Driving

You do not need a 4x4 to support this race, but a vehicle with good ground clearance will make it easier on you. Trailers and RVs are not a great idea as parking is limited and you will find it difficult to maneuver. At CP4 you will be able to park within about 100m of the transition tent.

We will have printed copies available at the host site. You are able to drive to all TAs to meet your racer. Once your racer starts on a leg, you should make your way to the next TA and set up for their arrival.

Driving Directions to TAs

You can find the only required driving directions to CP4 online HERE, or pick up a copy at race check-in.

Medical Help

If your racer doesn’t look well (delirious, dehydrated, or somehow broken), please contact our staff. The racer will not be disqualified for receiving basic medical aid.

Stuff to Bring

Make sure you have enough gear to keep yourself comfortable during the race. You will be in the mountains and it can get pretty cold in the evening. There can also be blistering heat during the day. Suggested crew gear:

  • Headlamp and batteries
  • Lantern
  • Warm jacket (it’s cold at night even in April)
  • Rain gear
  • Tarp or ground cover
  • Sleeping bag or blanket (to keep warm while waiting)
  • Sleeping pad
  • Tent or shelter
  • Food & water (for yourself and/or your racer)
  • Toiletries, and other personal needs
  • Folding chairs
  • A folding table is really handy
  • A book or magazine to read while waiting
  • A medical kit and the skills to use it
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug repellent
  • Salt tablets / hydrating drink
  • Jugs of water
  • After bite itch reliever
  • Lots of towels
  • Several changes of clothes and shoes

 

Altra RunningThe Bridge Sports PhysiotherapyHydraPakKanata BCMI

Sinister Sports Inc.
Box 460 Bellevue, AB, T0K 0C0
P: 1-403-563-6420
E:

©2020-2021 Sinister Sports Inc. All Rights Reserved.